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US criticism of settlements is empty rhetoric

In keeping with typical imperialist swagger, the US has criticised Israeli settlement expansion while continuing to give the Zionist state political and military support at all levels. This apparent contradiction demonstrates that even when it attempts to differentiate between forms of colonial violence, America employs empty rhetoric which amounts to continued and absolute support for Israel’s colonial expansion and aggression. White House spokesman Josh Earnest declared America’s “unwavering support of Israel” by having us believe that such support represents “US values” portrayed through “criticism” of illegal settlements and praise for Iron Dome.

“When it comes to American values,” said Earnest, “it’s America values that led to this country’s unwavering support of Israel. It’s American values that have led us to fund and build an Iron Dome system to protect the lives of countless Israelis.”

Reported by the Times of Israel, his words also indicated America’s supposed opposition to further settlement expansion in East Jerusalem. This was a reference to US President Obama’s statement that the decision to expand would serve to alienate Israel from “even its closest allies” and shed doubts upon possible “peace” negotiations with Palestinians.

As usual, the flawed statements are disseminated and taken at face value by the media and politicians. Beneath the hypocrisy, though, it is apparent that the US administration does not differentiate between what are two aspects of Israel’s colonial project. The prime concern remains America’s unflinching support for the settler-colonial state as a bastion of imperialist expansion. Hence, Earnest’s apparent differentiation is nothing but diplomatic jargon to be quoted within the usual context of alienation from the reality of US-backed colonial violence.

America’s history of support for settlement expansion is evident primarily in its support for the settler-colonial state itself. It has vetoed numerous resolutions at the United Nations to protect Israel, thus preventing any possible international deterrence for its illegal activities. However, the stance adopted by the US with regard to settlement expansion is also in accordance with UN dictates, particularly within the repetitive and erroneous context of Israel’s alleged “right to defend itself”.

The phrase, heard regularly whenever Israel’s colonial violence exhibits itself, such as in Operation Protective Edge, has broad significance despite its use being restricted to massacres in which Palestinians are depicted as the aggressors in order to sustain the deception. Nevertheless, with the wider context of preserving settler-colonialism, the same phrase has been applied repeatedly by both the US and the UN indirectly in reference to all forms of colonial violence that allow the continuation of Israel’s settler-colonial expansion and ideology.

Hence, in the same way that Iron Dome is credited with safeguarding Israel’s civilians (most of whom are army reserves), which includes the illegal Jewish settler population, settlement expansion continues to provide the means by which colonisation is being completed. The differentiation attempted by Earnest is, therefore, irrelevant; the record of both the US and the UN is proof enough of staunch support for the Zionist colonial project by any means, including expropriation and alleged diplomatic and military protection. As usual, the attempt to introduce contradictions is a direct attack on Palestinian history and memory; an effort to separate the current reality of illegal settlements from decades of colonial violence.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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